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Nike suspends athlete training program after coach doping ban

Nike Inc. will shut down its Oregon Project athlete training program after its head coach Alberto Salazar received a four-year ban for doping violations, the Financial Times reported Oct. 11, citing a note from CEO Mark Parker.

The Oregon Project will be suspended as Nike attempts to overturn Salazar's ban, as the company reportedly believes it would be wrong to punish "someone who acted in good faith."

The report comes weeks after the American Arbitration Association, or the AAA, said that Alberto Salazar and Jeffrey Brown conducted experiments that violated anti-doping rules, including an experiment testing whether the use of AndroGel, a topical testosterone gel, would cause a positive result in a drug test.

The AAA added that Chairman, CEO and President Mark Parker was aware of the tests and emailed Brown saying "it will be interesting to determine the minimal amount of topical male hormone required to create a positive test."

In addition, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, or USADA, said the experiments could be used for "the nefarious purpose of evading doping control."

According to the latest FT report, Parker said in a note to employees that the USADA "found there was no orchestrated doping, no finding that performance-enhancing drugs have ever been used on Oregon Project athletes and went out of its way to note Alberto [Salazar]'s desire to follow all rules."

Parker reportedly added that other "unsubstantiated assertions" are distracting the athletes from training, which contributed to the company's decision to shut down the project.

Jeffrey Brown, a doctor who also works with athletes from the project, also received a four-year ban, the FT said.